😎 👉 🧐
This one was not easy.
Maybe a day after making my initial posts, Tanner (not his real name) emailed me through Craigslist asking if I’d be interested in trading the motorcycle for his Mercedes. He’d included some fuzzy photos of the exterior, shot from the back (screenshots from his photos app, instead of the photos themselves, lol), and it looked OK so far. I asked for more info and more photos, including the interior, and after a day or so he obliged. It looked sharp, clean, and well-maintained. I was interested.
Meeting up with Tanner was a project in itself. We agreed on a day and time, which then was pushed to later, and then I got a text saying he was free sooner, and then no, hold on, traffic is pretty bad, and then nothing for a day and a half and onward like that. There was a lot of management done on my side but he did continue to seem interested, which was encouraging.
After all the back-and-forth, eventually we did manage to meet up. He brought the car, I brought the bike, and we’d do a mutual test drive where I’d follow him. He told me he was excited to ride it; he has a 250 and was looking forward to feeling a bigger bike.
For those less familiar with motorcycles, the distinction between a motorcycle with 250 cubic centimeters of displacement and one with 750cc is a very aggressive one. And the Ducati Monster line in particular is designed to be both light and strong, even compared to other bikes with similar engine sizes. All of which is to say: this is a powerful bike.
That much was clear to him. After a 15-minute ride through winding tunnels and industrial parks, he dismounted and it looked like he’d had something akin to a sexual experience. He was down. He was very, very down. We didn’t have titles with us so couldn’t do the trade immediately, but we made a verbal agreement and would dot the I’s in the next couple days. (Incidentally, his car drove very smoothly for me, was roomy and comfy inside, and included like 3 million bells and whistles. It was a good trade for both of us.)
Things were looking so good. And then…
I’m staying at a friend’s house right now while apartment hunting, and I parked the bike to look at a few listings ahead of a viewing I was heading to. The bike had been parked for no longer than 40 minutes when I returned to find it upright but askew, a run of fuel down its left side, a giant gouge in the tank, bent handlebars, broken blinker, broken blinker controls, and a snapped foot peg.
Someone had backed into it, knocked it over, and stood it back up again. It wasn’t rideable.
I was in complete and utter disbelief. It’s been a tough run these previous weeks but things were looking up with this trade. This was a gut punch I really didn’t need. I was sure I’d just lost the most valuable asset and piece of leverage I had in this entire project.
I talked to the owner of the car parked in front of the bike. She denied hitting it and I didn’t have any sort of proof. So, I took my truck and saw the apartment, called my insurance company, and texted Tanner.
Somehow, he was still interested. He is a pretty mechanically-minded guy and wasn’t particularly troubled by the damage I described. I think probably all told the fixes would coast about $1,000-$1,500, less if you don’t mind a bent handlebar or a dented and scratched tank. I was clear with him on that.
We went back and forth some more. I was surprised he was still so interested, but he had loved the ride and really wanted that bike. After some more scheduling issues and some commitment back-and-forth on his end, we agreed on a final trade time. A friend and I loaded the bike up into my truck (I wasn’t riding a broken bike over the Bay, and wasn’t gonna let him do that, either), and we delivered it.
We swapped titles, signed off, shook hands (inadvisable these days but still seemed the right thing to do), and that was that. My friend drove the Mercedes, I drove my truck, and now I have a new thing to trade.
And the car, for its part, is fine. Could use some new brake pads, and there are a few mechanical issues that don’t affect driveability (e.g. one of the door’s power locks needs to be fixed). And there’s some window tint that I’m not into. It definitely seems like a car that belonged to kid in college. He told me it’s worth around $4,000, and from what I’ve seen in driving it and in researching comparable models for sale in the area, I believe that.
Because I’m also trading the truck, I may keep this car a while as my primary means. I also may sell it for something that feels more comfortable to me–I don’t need all the fancy features this offers, and have ideas about what I might want in a car for the next few years. Either way, this worked out fine, it was a relief, and the bit of insurance money I’ll get from the bike will help me furnish my next apartment and pay down some debt. So, all’s well that ends well, I suppose. I didn’t have to scrap my beloved (cursed?) bike and still got a nice working car out of it.
(A word on valuation: At the bottom of these posts I’m keeping track of each trading line and including dollar and percent increases since the origin. I think the resale value of the Ducati dropped from about $2,800 to probably around $1,000 once it was damaged. I don’t think I could have sold it for more than that. That will be reflected below.)
Phew. Onward. I’m so relieved that that’s done.
1999 Ducati Monster 750 Dark trading line:
Original item value: $2,800 / $1,000
Number of trades to date: 1
Latest trade: 1999 Ducati Monster 750 Dark ($2,800/$1,000) for 2002 Mercedes Benz S430 ($3,200)
Total line value dollar increase: $2,200
Total line value percent increase: 220%